Background. Meta-analysis and systematic reviews of epidural compared with paravertebral
blockade analgesia techniques for thoracotomy conclude that although the analgesia is
comparable, paravertebral blockade has a better short-term side-effect profile. However,
reduction in major complications including mortality has not been proven.
Methods. The UK pneumonectomy study was a prospective observational cohort study in
which all UK thoracic surgical centres were invited to participate. Data presented here
relate to the mode of analgesia and outcome. Data were analysed for 312 patients
having pneumonectomy at 24 UK thoracic surgical centres in 2005. The primary endpoint
was a major complication.
Results. The most common type of analgesia used was epidural (61.1%) followed by
paravertebral infusion (31%). Epidural catheter use was associated with major
complications (odds ratio 2.2, 95% confidence interval 1.1–3.8; P¼0.02) by stepwise
logistic regression analysis.
Conclusions. An increased incidence of clinically important major post-pneumonectomy
complications was associated with thoracic epidural compared with paravertebral
blockade analgesia. However, this study is unable to provide robust evidence to change
clinical practice for a better clinical outcome. A large multicentre randomized controlled
trial is now needed to compare the efficacy, complications, and cost-effectiveness of
epidural and paravertebral blockade analgesia after major lung resection with the
primary outcome of clinically important major morbidity.
Archive for the 'Analgesia' Category
Powell ES, Cook D, Pearce AC et al. A prospective, multicenter, observational cohort study of analgesia and outcome after pneumonectomy. Br J Anaesth 2011, 106(3): 364-70
Background. Meta-analysis and systematic reviews of epidural compared with paravertebral
Ultrasound-guided thoracic paravertebral puncture and placement of catheters in human cadavers: where do catheters go? C. Luyet , G. Herrmann, S. Ross, et al. Br J Anaesth 2011, 106(2): 246-54
Background. Paravertebral regional anaesthesia is used to treat pain after several surgical
procedures. This study aimed to improve on our first published ultrasound-guided approach
to the paravertebral space (PVS) and to investigate a possible discrepancy between the
needle, catheter, and contrast dye position.
Methods. In 10 cadavers, we conducted 26 ultrasound-guided paravertebral approaches
combined with loss of resistance (LOR) and after an interim analysis performed 36 novel,
pure ultrasound-guided (PUSG) paravertebral approaches. Needle-tip position was
controlled by a first computed tomography (CT) scan. After placement of the catheters,
the tips were assessed by a second CT and the spread of injected contrast dye was
assessed by further CT scans. The part of the PVS near the intervertebral foramen was
defined as the primary target to reach.
Results. The first CT scans assessing 62 needle tips revealed that: 13 (50%) of LOR and 34
(94%) of PUSG approaches were at the target; and two (8%) LOR and no PUSG approaches
were outside the PVS. With the second CT scans 60 catheter-tip positions were analysed:
three (12%) of LOR and five (14%) of PUSG approaches were at the target, three (12%) of
LOR and two (6%) of PUSG approaches were outside the PVS. No catheters were detected
in the epidural space. In two cases, insertion of the catheter was not possible. In cases
with major epidural contrast, the widest contrast dye spread was 7.7 (3.5) [mean (SD)]
Conclusions. Our new PUSG technique has a high success rate for paravertebral needle
placement. Although needles were correctly positioned, catheters were usually found
distant from the needle-tip position.
Keywords: anatomy, regional; intercostal nerv
Differential effects of lumbar and thoracic epidural anaesthesia on the haemodynamic response to acute right ventricular pressure overload. Misssant C, Claus P, Rex S, Wouters PF. Br J Anaesth 2010, 104: 143-9
Background. The safety of epidural anaesthesia in patients at risk for right ventricular
pressure overload remains controversial. We compared the haemodynamic effects of vascular
and cardiac autonomic nerve block, induced by selective lumbar (LEA) and high thoracic epidural
anaesthesia (TEA), respectively, in an animal model subjected to controlled acute right
ventricular pressure overload.
Methods. Eighteen pigs were instrumented with epidural catheters at the thoracic (T) and
lumbar (L) level and received separate injections at T2 (1 ml) and L3 (4 ml) with saline (s) or
bupivacaine 0.5% (b). Three groups of six animals were studied: (i) a control group (LsþTs), (ii)
LEA group (LbþTs), and (iii) TEA group (LsþTb). Haemodynamic measurements including
biventricular pressure-volumetry were performed. Right ventricular afterload was then
increased by inflating a pulmonary artery (PA) balloon. Measurements were repeated after
30 min of sustained right ventricular afterload increase.
Results. LEA decreased systemic vascular resistance (SVR) and did not affect ventricular function.
TEA had minor effects on SVR but decreased left ventricular contractility while baseline
right ventricular function was not affected. Control and LEA-treated animals responded similarly
to a PA balloon occlusion with an increase in right ventricular contractility and heart rate.
Animals pretreated with a TEA did not show this positive inotropic response and developed
low cardiac output in the presence of right ventricular pressure overload.
Conclusions. In contrast to LEA, TEA reduced the haemodynamic tolerance to PA balloon
occlusion by inhibiting the right ventricular positive inotropic response to acute pressure overload
Predictors of Prolonged Postoperative Endotracheal Intubation in Patients. Cywinski JB, Xu M, Sessler D, et al. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth 2009, 23: 766-9
Objective: The aim of this study was to identify predictors
of delayed endotracheal extubation defined as the need for
postoperative ventilatory support after open thoracotomy
for lung resection.
Design: An observational cohort investigation.
Setting: A tertiary referral center.
Participants: The study population consisted of 2,068 patients
who had open thoracotomy for pneumonectomy, lobectomy,
or segmental lung resection between January
1996 and December 2005.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Measurements and Main Results: Preoperative and intraoperative
variables were collected concurrently with the patient’s
care. Risk factors were identified using logistic regression
with stepwise variable selection procedure on 1,000
bootstrap resamples, and a bagging algorithm was used to
summarize the results. Intraoperative red blood cell transfusion,
higher preoperative serum creatinine level, absence of a
thoracic epidural catheter, more extensive surgical resection,
and lower preoperative FEV1 were associated with an increased
risk of delayed extubation after lung resection.
Conclusion: Most predictors of delayed postoperative extubation
(ie, red blood cell transfusion, higher preoperative serum
creatinine, lower preoperative FEV1, and more extensive
lung resection) are difficult to modify in the perioperative period
and probably represent greater severity of underlying lung
disease and more advanced comorbid conditions. However,
thoracic epidural anesthesia and analgesia is a modifiable factor
that was associated with reduced odds for postoperative
ventilatory support. Thus, the use of epidural analgesia may
reduce the need for post-thoracotomy mechanical ventilation
Efficacy and safety of different techniques of paravertebral block for analgesia after thoracotomy: a systematic review and metaregression.A. Kotzé, A. Scally, S. Howell. Br J Anaesth 2009; 103: 626-36
Various techniques and drug regimes for thoracic paravertebral block (PVB) have been evaluated for post-thoracotomy analgesia, but there is no consensus on which technique or drug regime is best. We have systematically reviewed the efficacy and safety of different techniques for PVB. Our primary aim was to determine whether local anaesthetic (LA) dose influences the quality of analgesia from PVB. Secondary aims were to determine whether choice of LA agent, continuous infusion, adjuvants, pre-emptive PVB, or addition of patient-controlled opioids improve analgesia. Indirect comparisons between treatment arms of different trials were made using metaregression. Twenty-five trials suitable for metaregression were identified, with a total of 763 patients. The use of higher doses of bupivacaine (890–990 mg per 24 h compared with 325–472.5 mg per 24 h) was found to predict lower pain scores at all time points up to 48 h after operation (P=0.006 at 8 h, P=0.001 at 24 h, and P<0.001 at 48 h). The effect-size estimates amount to around a 50% decrease in postoperative pain scores. Higher dose bupivacaine PVB was also predictive of faster recovery of pulmonary function by 72 h (effect-size estimate 20.1% more improvement in FEV1, 95% CI 2.08%–38.07%, P=0.029). Continuous infusions of LA predicted lower pain scores compared with intermittent boluses (P=0.04 at 8 h, P=0.003 at 24 h, and P<0.001 at 48 h). The use of adjuvant clonidine or fentanyl, pre-emptive PVB, and the addition of patient-controlled opioids to PVB did not improve analgesia. Further well-designed trials of different PVB dosage and drug regimes are needed.
Preventing the Development of Chronic Pain After Thoracic Surgery. Reuben SS, Yalavarthy L. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth 2008; 22: 890-903
Factors affecting the distribution of neural blockade by local anesthetics in epidural anesthesia and a comparison of lumbar versus thoracic epidural anesthesia. Visser WA, Lee RA, Gielen MJ. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 107(2):708-21, 2008 Aug.
The spread of sensory blockade after epidural injection of a specific dose of local anesthetic (LA) differs considerably among individuals, and the factors affecting this distribution remain the subject of debate. Based on the results of recent investigations regarding the distribution of epidural neural blockade, specifically for thoracic epidural anesthesia, we noted that the total mass of LA appears to be the most important factor in determining the extent of sensory, sympathetic, and motor neural blockade, whereas the site of epidural needle/catheter placement governs the pattern of distribution of blockade relative to the injection site. Age may be positively correlated with the spread of sensory blockade, and the evidence is somewhat stronger for thoracic than for lumbar epidural anesthesia. Other patient characteristics and technical details, such as patient position, and mode and speed of injection, exert only a small effect on the distribution of sensory blockade, or their effects are equivocal. However, combinations of several patient and technical factors may aid in predicting LA dose requirements. Based on these results, we have also formulated suggested epidural insertion sites that may optimize both analgesia and sympathicolysis for various surgical indications.
The Effect of Thoracic Epidural Bupivacaine and an Intravenous Adrenaline Infusion on Gastric Tube Blood Flow During Esophagectomy. Anesth Analg 2008, 106: 884-7
Authors: Al-Rawi, Omar Y. FRCA *; Pennefather, Stephen H. MRCP, FRCA *; Page, Richard D. FRCS +; Dave, Ishani FRCA *; Russell, Glen N. FRCA *
Institution From the Departments of *Anaesthesia and +Thoracic Surgery, Cardiothoracic Centre, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Title The Effect of Thoracic Epidural Bupivacaine and an Intravenous Adrenaline Infusion on Gastric Tube Blood Flow During Esophagectomy.[Report]
Source Anesthesia & Analgesia. 106(3):884-887, March 2008.
Abstract BACKGROUND: Gastric tube necrosis is a major cause of anastomotic leak after esophagectomy. A correlation has been shown between reduced flux at the anastomotic end of the gastric tube and anastomotic leaks.
METHODS: We prospectively studied the effect of intraoperative thoracic epidural bupivacaine and subsequent adrenaline infusion on hemodynamics and flux in the gastric tube.
RESULTS: Administering the epidural bolus significantly decreased flux at the anastomotic end of the gastric tube (P < 0.01). Gastric flux was returned to baseline by an adrenaline infusion.
CONCLUSIONS: The administration of a thoracic epidural bolus may decrease flux at the anastomotic end of the gastric tube.
Effect of thoracic epidural analgesia on gastric blood flow after oesophagectomy.Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica. Volume 51 Issue 5 Page 587-594, May 2007
Background: The oesophagectomy procedure includes the formation of a gastric tube to re-establish the continuity of the gastrointestinal tract. The effect of thoracic epidural analgesia (TEA) on gastric mucosal blood flow (GMBF) remains unknown in clinical practice. The aim of this prospective observational study was to assess the microcirculatory changes induced by TEA in the early post-operative course.
Methods: Eighteen consecutive patients who underwent radical oesophagectomy with en-bloc resection and two-field lymphadenectomy for oesophageal cancer, and benefited from TEA during the post-operative course, were studied prospectively, and compared with nine patients who declined the use of TEA in the same period (control group). GMBF was measured using a laser Doppler flowmeter in three consecutive time periods (before and after 1 and 18 h of TEA infusion). Post-operative monitoring also included the measurement of arterial pressure, cardiac output, gas exchange and intrathoracic blood volume index.
Results: After the first and 18th hour of infusion, TEA induced an increase in GMBF compared with baseline and the control group. The mean arterial pressure and intrathoracic blood volume index decreased after the first hour of TEA infusion with no influence on the cardiac index.
Conclusions: This clinical study demonstrates that TEA improves the microcirculation of the gastric tube in the early post-oesophagectomy period. The clinical relevance of TEA in this setting should be validated in larger studies focusing on the clinical outcome following oesophagectomy.
Authors: Solak, O.; Metin, M.; Esme, H.; Solak, O.; Yaman, M.; Pekcolaklar, A.; Gurses, A.; Kavuncu, V.
Eur J Cardio-Thorac Surg 32: 9-12, 2007
Keywords: Chronic post-thoracotomy pain; Neuropathic pain; Gabapentin; Wound pain
Abstract (English): Background: Chronic post-thoracotomy pain (CPTP) consists of different types of pain. Some characteristics of CPTP are the same as those of recognized neuropathic pain syndromes. Objective: We aimed to determine the safety and efficacy of gabapentin (GP) in comparison to naproxen sodium (NS) in patients with CPTP. Methods: Forty consecutive patients with CPTP after posterolateral/lateral thoracotomy were prospectively evaluated. Twenty patients were given GP and another 20 were given NS treatment. Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and the Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (LANSS) scorings were performed pretreatment (day 0) and on the 15th, 30th, 45th and 60th days. Adverse events were questioned. The mean ages were 45.7+/-14.9 and 49.8+/-15.2 years and the mean durations of pain were 3.8+/-0.9 and 3.8+/-1.1 months, respectively. Results: The mean pretreatment VAS scores (VAS0) were 6.4+/-0.6 and 6.8+/-0.6, the mean pretreatment LANSS scores (LANSS0) were 18.85+/-1.6 and 20.75+/-2.6 in GP and NS groups, respectively (p>0.05). Minor adverse events which did not mandate discontinuation of treatment were observed in seven patients (35%) in the GP and in four patients (20%) in the NS group. The number of patients with a VAS score <5 at the latest follow-up (VAS60<5) was 17 (85%) and 3 (15%) in GP and NS groups, respectively (p<0.001). Seventeen patients (85%) in the GP and 0 patients (0%) in the NS group had a LANSS score <12 at the latest follow-up. Conclusion: Gabapentin is safe and effective in the treatment of CPTP with minimal side effects and a high patient compliance. These results should be supported with multidisciplinary studies with larger sample sizes and longer follow-ups.